President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday said the government would provide relief for mortgage repayments and other bank loans to support individuals and companies who are affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Romanian president said Prime Minister Ludovic Orban would pass the new measures to offer a nine-month „mortgage holiday” to people on Thursday.
Hundreds of thousands of people have seen their businesses and incomes hit as public life has been disrupted by restrictions designed to isolate people and slow the spread of the highly contagious disease which has infected 906 people and killed 14.
Flights have been suspended to some countries, while shops, restaurants and malls have been closed down, and mass gatherings, such as football matches and pop concerts, suspended.
Many companies have reduced working hours or furloughed workers as business has dried up.
“We need special measures in special times,” Iohannis said. “We understood that everyone in their own way has immense problems, just as companies have very big problems.”
Iohannis announced the measure during a 30-day state of emergency when authorities can suspend some rights and introduce measures in a bid to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Iohannis did not say whether the repayment scheme had been discussed with banks.
Iohannis also said the government would make a budgetary adjustment to allocate more money healthcare, which is already grossly underfunded. Romania allocates 5% of its gross domestic product, about half of the European Union average.
He said extra funds would be made available for unemployment payments.
Iohannis said that bank loan repayments could be „postponed for up to nine months, until the end of the year. We are convinced that the economy will recover by then,” he said.